This is Toby Walker, the International Blues Challenge winner's, latest CD and just for a little added spice, it really didn't need it, but it is more than welcome now that it is here, he enlisted Jay Ungar and Molly Mason for support. Both are outstanding musicians in their own right, Jay on fiddle and Molly on upright bass and have credits far longer than your arms; think the music for Ken Burn's documentary The Civil War which comes from Jay's composition Ashokan Farewell. Jay has also played with David Bromberg on numerous occasions. While here let's also mention Tom Griffith on electric bass and Martha Trachtenberg on harmony vocals. Toby produced this disc and plays acoustic guitar and National Tricone Steel Guitar and supplies the lead vocals.
Walker is a player who has a very instinctive feel for his material, at times dazzling you with blinding speed and at other times playing with great feel and soul drenched runs on the guitar. Hand Picked is just a gem of a title as each song feels like it was only included when it was ripe and at its sweetest. Just listen to the driving force behind Big Meat Shakin' On The Bone, which sounds as if it is right out of the songbook of some long lost obscure Bluesman he found picking cotton; however it is one of the six songs he wrote that jell perfectly with those by Nehemiah 'Skip' James or the ubiquitous Traditional. Just an outstanding disc in everyway.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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